How To Make Homemade Moisturizer – A Guide For Beginners

An extensive post, with lots of information on how to make homemade moisturizers. Take skincare into your own hands by making your own creams, oils & serums to nourish your skin.

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You’ll probably be fairly familiar with my homemade moisturizers, but let’s go over them anyway. I promise you that it will be worth it. Moisturizers are a very important part of skincare, they are the oil part of your diy skincare regime that we leave on the skin to sink in.

As you’ll see below, this is quite an extensive post, with lots of information on how to make moisturizer at home. This can become a little overwhelming, so I suggest treating this post with a dip in and out approach.

Too much to read for now? here’s my latest DIY face moisturizer recipe, and here are 8 DIY face creams.

Two pots of lavender and green tea face cream

Why Make A Homemade Moisturizer?

  • Moisturizers nourish our skin, providing it with hydration but also various vitamins, minerals and other compounds that can affect the quality of skin for the better.
  • As we age, moisturizing becomes more important as skin tends to become dryer. However, many of us can have dry skin at any time in our lives. For instance, some people are born with dry skin types, which require the use of moisturizers even when young.
  • A homemade moisturizer can also be specially formulated for people with oily and/or acne-prone skin. It seems strange to think that applying oil will help the skin become less oily. But many carrier and essential oils have the power to balance the production of naturally occurring oils, as well as the production of sebum (a natural skin lubricant that can clog pores and cause acne).
  • It is also especially important to apply a moisturizer as part of a larger skincare regime. Moisturizers usually come after your diy toner and due to the drying nature of this type of product, it is important to rehydrate skin after it is used. Skipping this step could lead to excessively dry skin and irritation.

The Key Ingredients Of Face Moisturizers

Carrier Oils

making a diy face cream
Add vitamin e oil to a diy moisturizer

No matter the skincare product, carrier oils are usually the foundation. Carrier oils, while having benefits on their own, are there to carry the more active, potent ingredients that cannot be used directly on the skin.

Essential oils and many active botanicals are a good example of this. When used directly, they can cause irritation and permanent sensitization. When diluted in a carrier oil, they work in tandem to create a product that works fabulously that doesn’t irritate the user.

Many benefits of their own

However, as said, they have many benefits of their own. They’re also one of the main moisturizing agents in our diy products. For instance, a facial oil may contain a mixture of sweet almond and apricot kernel oil, but also lavender essential oil. The carriers here keep the skin moist and supple, whereas the Lavender essential oil will keep you looking young, even out skin tone and help to restore blood flow. They have different jobs but work in harmony to help keep skin looking the best it can.

I encourage you to take a look at my natural oils guides, especially The Best Organic Carrier Oils and Their Uses. These should offer you a quick education on the many different carrier oils we use in skincare, how they behave on the skin and what they can offer you in terms of benefits and properties.

By using this guide, you can formulate with carrier oils that are right for your unique skin, as well aiding in creating harmonious skincare products that work towards a single goal, as opposed to working against each other.

Essential Oils

Adding essential oils to a face moisturizer

Essential oils are the potent extracts of various plants, flowers, spices, fruits, and even vegetables. They are usually extracted through a process of distilling, which also produces hydrosols. Because the extraction process produces quite a potent substance, these oils have powerful properties to bring about visible changes to our skin. On the flip side, however, they can be quite dangerous for this very same reason.

Essential oils, unlike carrier oils, can penetrate to the very deepest levels of our skin. There, they can go about doing different things, depending on the type of essential oil. However, they can also wreak havoc!

If used in high doses, essential oils can actually sensitize the skin, making it much easier for these oils to cause you irritation in the future. Furthermore, the different component chemicals in essential oils, while naturally occurring, are each a sensitizer in their own right. Everybody has different skin, and some just cannot tolerate any amount of a particular sensitizer. Some may even be allergic to them.

Using essential oils properly

Nevertheless, essential oils, if used properly, can be absolutely amazing in homemade face moisturizers. While each oil has its guidelines set by IFRA, I recommend using at around 2% in leave-on skincare products for the face. Nevertheless, certain essential oils may be too high at 2%, so be sure to check out what IFRA says.

To learn more about this wonderful ingredient, as well as their many uses and where to purchase them, take a look at my Essential Oil Use Chart. It’s very important to understand what the individual essential oils do. We just spoke about creating a harmonious skincare product above, and it is even more important for essential oil.

If you were to chose an essential oil that can be quite drying (lemon, for instance) and another oil that is great for hydrating (Lavender, as an example), these two oils will fight against one another, which cancels them both out. You are left with, essentially, a placebo product. Be mindful when choosing these oils, they are not just there for a nice smelling finished product.

Cosmetic Butters

shea butter

Cosmetic butters are the natural extracts of various nuts, seeds, and kernels, and generally, tend to be solid at room temperature. These beautiful ingredients have unparalleled powers to nourish and soften skin. They’re even better than most carrier oils at leaving skin leaving soft and smooth. However, their problem is that they are solid, and applying to the skin can be difficult on their own.

Their inclusion in DIY facial emulsions and balms are an excellent application of this ingredient, although they would be completely unsuitable in a facial oil or serum.

Remember, though, that even though creams and balms will naturally be thicker than the other types of products we discuss on this page, it is still important not to use too much. I tend to use no more than 5% cosmetic butter, so as not to produce a cream or balm that is either too thick or too greasy. You could probably get away with more in a balm, though.

Take a look at my beauty supply page, more specifically the section that discusses cosmetic butters. It should give you more details about the different types of butters available, their uses, and where to buy them.

Active Botanicals

making green tea and cucumber eye gel  with green tea extract

Now we come to the active botanicals. There are countless different types of active botanicals on the market today, all of which are extracts of various natural ingredients (plants, flowers, seeds, nuts, etc.). Their job, much like essential oils, is to bring about change in our skin for the better. Some speed up healing, others help to smooth skin. Many have powerful anti-aging properties!

However, they will all be either an infused oil, a liquid infusion, a tincture or a glycerite. I tend not to use tinctures, as they contain alcohol which can be drying, but let’s discuss the others.

Infused oils are great

These would be ideal for inclusion in homemade facial oils and oil-based serums. When you come to buy them, infused oils will likely be referred to as ‘something infused oil’, for instance, Carrot Seed Infused Oil. However, some are listed simply as ‘extracts’ and a little investigation in the ingredients is necessary. If the ingredients section says nothing about ‘aqua’ or ‘alcohol’ it will likely be oil-based. But if you’re unsure, check with the manufacturer or supply directly.

Infused oils can regularly be used in similar amounts as carrier oils, but not always so check manufacturer guidelines. You may also not want to do this simply because oil infusions tend to be more expensive than ordinary carrier oils. Although they are similar to carrier oils, due to their heat-sensitive nature, it is best to use them at the cool-down phase if using them in an DIY emulsion.


Glycerites are the water-based alternative to infused oils, although they are often more potent. They are suspended in glycerine, which is a humectant and is water-soluble. These should not be used in facial oil, balms, and oil-based serums, but can be used in facial emulsions. Like with infused oils, they are often referred to simply as ‘extracts’, but the supplier should tell you if it is glycerine or oil-based.

I have often found store-bought glycerites can be quite potent, more so than the infused oils. Check with manufacturer guidelines, but I often use them at around 2%. Like infused oils, they are completely heat sensitive, so add to emulsions at the cool-down phase.

Liquid infusions

Now, a quick discussion on liquid infusions (also known as a herbal infusion). When you put a kettle on to boil and place a tea bag in your cup, we’re essentially preparing for a liquid infusion. That’s right, even ordinary tea can have a fancy name! A liquid infusion is essentially ordinary distilled water that has been brought up to a high temperature and left to infuse with various plants and flowers.

While you could buy liquid infusions, I tend to just make my own. If you are familiar with hydrosols, liquid infusions work and are used in a very similar manner. For instance, a liquid infusion could be used in place of distilled water in a facial emulsion. This could give you an extra kick for your face cream. Unlike infused oils and glycerites, you need not worry about concentration beyond creating a good formula, as they are very mild on the skin.

However, it is important to note that liquid infusions can often affect the smell and color of a product. Unlike hydrosols, liquid infusions can become tinted and can smell of whatever you’ve infused with. In other words, they may affect the look and smell of an end product, so keep this in mind.

Waxes For Balms & Emulsions


Waxes can play an important role in certain homemade moisturizers, namely balms and emulsions. But let’s talk about those separately as they’re a bit difficult.

In balms, the wax is included to form a barrier between your skin and the outside world. They’re thick, stick to skin very well and are completely waterproof. When we lick our lips, they become wet. As the saliva begins to evaporate, it carries with it much of the natural moisture, leaving the skin feeling quite dry. The wax in lip balm prevents this from happening, as a liquid cannot be evaporated through a waterproof layer.

It also serves to prevent nasty bacteria and dirt from getting in open cuts, scraps, and otherwise compromised skin. Although this can be counterproductive if the skin is not properly cleaned before a balm is applied, as the waterproof, thick layer of wax will allow bacteria and dirt to remain on a wound or the skin.

Beeswax & Candelilla wax

The main wax we use for balms is beeswax. Its an absolutely amazing wax that even lends skin softening, moisturizing and conditioning benefits. However, there is one problem with beeswax, it is not vegan.

With many people embracing the vegan movement, it can sometimes be hard to provide consumer products that are suitable for them. However, there is a totally vegan wax that works amazingly well, candelilla wax! Although it has double the stiffening power of beeswax, though, so be sure to use half as much for a similar consistency.

Emulsifying wax

Wax is also a very important functional ingredient in emulsions, although it is a very different kind of wax. Emulsifying wax, often simply known as e-wax, is a type of wax that binds water and oil molecules and allows them to exist harmoniously. Otherwise, the oil and wax just wouldn’t mix.

But it is important to make use of an actual emulsifying wax. I’ve spoken to many people who have attempted to use ordinary beeswax as an emulsifier, with often very poor results. While there are very few emulsifying waxes that are truly natural, Olivem1000 comes close to being a natural e-wax. I use this whenever I can. However, when natural isn’t a concern, I’ll often use emulsifying wax NF or BTMS-50.

There are many different types of homemade moisturizers for you to try your hand at. While all of them are good, you use them in different ways and different proportions. One person may find using just the one is enough for them. Another may require all of these products to fit their needs.

Facial Creams/Emulsions

making a face cream

Facial emulsions are perhaps the most sort after and revered of all the homemade face moisturizers. This is for good reason, though. They’re easy to customize so that they are suitable for anybody. It’s also amazing at moisturizing skin while also allowing it to breathe.

Balms and facial oils have the problem of coating the skin and not sinking in completely or taking a long time to do so. Facial creams, when formulated properly, should not behave in this way.

But what is an Emulsion you ask?

An emulsion is when water and oil are forced to mix. If you haven’t noticed, ordinarily water and oil will never come together naturally. You can do a neat experiment by filling a bowl with water and dripping a few drops of oil onto the surface.

So, how do we go about forcing these two substances to mix to create a gorgeous cream that will glide evenly across the skin? When we make mayonnaise, oil and vinegar come together by aid of an emulsifier. In this case, it’s an egg. With facial emulsions, we’re doing the same thing, only this time our emulsifier is a type of wax we call emulsifying wax.

In oil in water emulsion, the majority of the cream is water. By mixing the three key ingredients of a facial emulsion (water, oil, wax) droplets of oil are suspended within the water. This is the most common type of emulsion. The other is the reverse, a water in oil emulsion. This tends to produce a heavier, greasier emulsion that is often not seen on store shelves these days. They are excellent moisturizers, though, and great for anyone with dry skin if only a bit heavy.

However, emulsions do suffer one problem

Of all of these homemade moisturizers, the emulsion is the hardest to master, the least forgiving, and the easiest to go wrong. It takes time, patience and experience to be able to achieve a good quality emulsion every time. However, you can do it! Pretty much everyone can get good at doing these, you just need the time and patience.

If you’re only going to use one of the products here, I highly recommend that it would be an emulsion recipe.

How To Make Facial Emulsions

The Formula

Oils (20-30%)

Water (70-75%)


Recommended Batch Size: 50-100g

When it comes to the emulsion, it’s important to be quite strict with your formulation. Once you find a formula that works for you, stick with it and try not to change it too much. The freedom and joy of experimentation comes with the different ingredients you can use. The texture and consistency of a product can be changed by switching up carrier oils and butters, rather than changing percentages of your ingredients and risking a poor, unstable emulsion.

However, it is important to say that this formula may not work for every type of ingredient. I’m talking about namely the emulsifying wax and the preservative here. Emulsifying waxes are required to be added at different ratios. While the majority will usually fall between 5-8%, check with the manufacturer guidelines on how much to use.

If you find it is higher than say 8%, you can take a look at your formula and see what you can happily lose to make room. Providing you don’t drop below 65% Hydrosol/Distilled water or 10% Carrier oil, you can easily substitute some of either of these to put towards more emulsifying wax. The same goes for the preservative.

The preservative is an absolute must for this diy moisturizer

The mixture of water and oil creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. There have been cases of people being blinded by improperly preserved skincare products. And no, more antioxidant (vitamin e) is not an acceptable substitute. Be safe and preserve your products properly.


Step 1: Place your carrier oils, emulsifying wax and any butters (also known as the oil phase) you may wish to use into a sterile beaker. In another beaker, pour your hydrosols or distilled water (also known as the water phase).

ingredients for a face cream in beakers

Certain botanical extracts that are not heat sensitive (e.g. aloe vera gel) can be added to their respective parts now. Be sure to add oil-soluble ingredients to the oil phase and water-soluble ingredients to the water phase. Also, be sure not to add an antioxidant-rich carrier oil (such as vitamin e) at this stage, as again it is heat sensitive.

Step 2: Place the beakers into a water bath until the e-wax and any cosmetic butters (if using) have fully melted. While the water should be hot and may simmer, never allow it to boil. We want to heat our carrier oils and hydrosols gently so as not to spoil their lovely, skin-nourishing benefits.

Place both contains into a pan of simmering water

This whole process should take about 15 minutes but may be longer depending on your ingredients and their temperature upon entry to the water bath.

Step 3: While your beakers are in the water bath, take this time to combine your stabilizing agent with your humectant in a small vessel. In most cases, this would be xanthan gum and glycerine, but not always so.

Mixing the gum and glycerine mixture until smooth

Step 4: Once the beakers have been removed from the water bath, you may pour the water phase into the oil phase. While I have seen people suggest doing things the other way around, I thoroughly disagree with them.

As oil is more viscous, it tends to cling to the sides of beakers more so than water. By pouring the water instead of the oil, you will find it much easier to ensure all of your ingredients are being used and not end up down the sink with your dish soap.

As you pour the oil, be sure to stir the mixture continuously. Once all of the water has been poured into the oil, continue to stir to aid emulsion.

Step 5: After a few minutes of stirring, pour the gum-glycerine mix (or whatever stabilizing gum and humectant you are working with) into the beaker holding your emulsion. Stir thoroughly.

Adding the glycerine gum mixture to the emulsion

Step 6: While continuing to stir as it cools, you will notice the cream will rapidly begin to thicken. However, to speed up the cooling process, you can place the beaker into a bowl of cold or icy water. Be sure not to allow any of the water to enter the beaker.

Step 7: Now we have reached cooldown, we can add our final ingredients. These will include your essential oils, vitamin e, heat-sensitive botanicals and, of course, the preservative.

I must mention again that a preservative is absolutely essential in any form of skincare emulsion. The combination of water and oil creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

Step 6: Transfer the emulsion to your chosen container. For facial emulsions, I like to use a simple tinted glass or PET plastic pot. While you could use a pump bottle, I find these to be more suited to a body lotion.

Spoon your mixture into your storage container

You could, alternatively, make use of a PET plastic squeeze tube. These make applications relatively easy and come in a variety of sizes for your formulation needs.

Once transferred, the emulsion is likely to be still warm. Allow it to fully cool in its container until you apply the lid.

Some Great Examples Of Emulsion Recipes

Facial Oils

Facial oils are the older cousins of the emulsions. Before we had lovely creams, we had lovely facial oils. The ancient elites of the classical world owed their beauty to facial oils and even a millennia later they are still used today. While creams are great, facial oils do still have a place in your skincare regime.

face moisturizer using only natural oils

Facial oils are wonderful moisturizers for anyone who has extremely dry skin

While they won’t sit on the skin forever like a balm, they tend to hang around longer than an emulsion and so have some power to protect the skin from external elements. While I do use an emulsion every day, I use a facial oil twice a week as a little super hydrating treatment.

Facial oils (and body oils, for that matter) can be specially formulated for various purposes. For instance, my son recently had minor surgery on his face. I whipped up a facial oil that included various carrier, infused and essential oils to help speed up the healing and fade out the scar quickly. So far, it’s working like magic (I’ll share it in a post soon, don’t worry).

However, facial oils aren’t all that great for anyone who suffers from acne

While you can adapt the facial oil so that it contains carrier and essential oils that are good for oily and acne-prone skin types, it’s just not great to have that much neat oil sitting on your skin unless your cleansing and toning is very thorough. A facial emulsion might be a better choice. Almost everyone else can benefit from a facial oil, though.

Another issue with facial oils is that you can only use oil-based ingredients. This means all botanical extracts absolutely must not contain water. There are, however, plenty of wonderful oil-based ingredients to try. Some come in both varieties, as either an infusion (in oil) or as a glycerite (in glycerine/water). The lack of water also means no need for a preservative, which is always a good thing where possible.

I have a lot of facial oil recipes here on my blog, all of them are combined into one post for your convenience. You’ll find them in my post called Homemade Facial Oil Recipes That Make Sense. It’s a great starting point, and a wealth of information to draw inspiration for your own formulations.

How To Make Facial Oils

The Formula

Recommended Batch Size: 30-50g

As you would expect, the bulk of this formula is carrier oils. While you can make a facial oil that is 100% carrier oil, it would be better to adulterate it with lovely, active ingredients. I usually recommend 90% carrier oil, so there’s room for your other ingredients.

5% added botanicals is usually enough when we’re talking infused oils. You could substitute more of the carrier oil for infused oil if the ones you have selected do not have a dermal limit.

Antioxidants are important, particularly for facial oil. As you are aware by now, no preservative is necessary for this recipe, as we aren’t including any water or water-soluble ingredients. However, oils can still go rancid, some quicker than others. Just to prolong the life of our oils, adding vitamin e is a good idea.

Be careful with essential oils, they all have different dermal limits depending on their sensitizer content. Check with IFRA on dermal limits of different essential oils, and remember that this is a leave-on product for the face (which makes a difference).


Step 1: In a sterile beaker, combine all the ingredients necessary for your facial oil. These should include, at a minimum, carrier oils and essential oils, although you may wish to use a plethora of different oil-based ingredients.

Start by weighing out all your ingredients into your mixing beakers

Instead of weighing your ingredients separately, I always find it best to pop your beaker on a digital scale, hit the T button to set it to zero and then begin adding your ingredients. After you add an ingredient, hit the T button once more.

This will give you an accurate measurement for each ingredient you add, without using an unnecessary amount of beakers.

Step 2: Give the oil a good blend with a sterile glass rod or a stainless steel spoon.

Step 3: Using a funnel if necessary, pour your oil into your chosen container. I recommend a tinted glass or PET plastic dropper bottle. It makes using your facial oil much easier. If tinted is not your preference, be sure to store out of direct sunlight.

Take a look at making facial oils in more detail.

Face And Lip Balms

Face and lip balms are wonderful if perhaps a bit situational. Balms are created by combing oils with wax and allowing them to harden. This produces a very thick substance that can be picked up on the finger and smeared across the skin. If formulated with the right ingredients, it can be exceptionally hydrating and very soothing.

It’s especially good for any skin that has been compromised, be it a cut, a scrape or irritation from dry skin. You have probably used one of these for your lips when they become dry and chapped in the winter. Nevertheless, balms are great for any area of skin needing a little bit of tender, love, and care.

homemade lip balm

But it is quite true when I say they are situational. You would not use one of these all the time, and I’ll tell you why. Wax has a way of sealing itself against the skin. This is great when you want to protect, say, chapped lips from cold weather.

However, balms shouldn’t be used on very large areas of skin for too long. You want your skin to be able to breathe. Using a balm as an everyday homemade moisturizer would trap far too much dirt, grime, and makeup in the pores of your skin. It would also most likely feel greasy.

Nevertheless, balms have their place in skincare, and providing you use them properly they’re absolutely wonderful when you need them.

My post, DIY Lip Balm That’s Absolutely Gorgeous, is a great example of a balm recipe. While it says ‘lip balm’, it can really be used all over the body. However, if you want to see the lip balm tube in action, take a look at My Vegan Lip Balm Recipe Without Beeswax. I use the famous wind-up lip balm tube, but I also wanted to show you how to work with candelilla wax to make a totally awesome but totally vegan balm!

How To Make Facial Balms

The Formula

Recommended Batch Size: 15-30g

If you plan to use this as a lip balm in a lip balm wind up tube, I strongly recommend taking the wax to 25% if using beeswax or keeping it at 15% if using candelilla wax (as it has double the stiffness). This is to ensure that the balm is hard enough to use in a lip balm tube, otherwise, it might not wind properly. You can lower the amount of liquid carrier oil to compensate for the increased percentage of wax.

As you can see, there is plenty of room to play around with this formula. Providing your measurements fall within the range specified, you should be fine. For instance, I could use 15% wax, 32% Cosmetic Butter, 40% Carrier Oil, 10% Added Botanical, 1% Antioxidant and 2% Essential Oil. These all add up to 100% and will produce a nice facial balm that is rich with benefits and active properties.

For the wax, stick with either beeswax or candelilla wax (if vegan) for now

Keep in mind that candelilla wax has double the stiffness, and so you may wish to use half as much (e.g. max of around 7%). As you get more experienced, you can move on to all the weird and wonderful waxes that are out there. Be sure not to use an emulsifying wax. While BTMS-50 does have skin-conditioning qualities, it is nowhere nears as nourishing as beeswax or candelilla.

The rest of the ingredients are added to nourish the skin, and you can happily play around with your different options. Like with the facial oil, our vitamin e antioxidant will keep the oils and wax from going rancid too quickly. This is especially important for a facial balm that isn’t used routinely and may go a few weeks between applications. Small batch sizes also help with this.


Step 1: Combine your carrier oils, wax and any butters you might use into a single beaker. Then, place in a water bath to melt the wax. You can, alternatively, use a microwave in 10-second bursts.

Once melted, remove from the water bath

Step 2: Allow the mixture to cool slightly (although do not let harden) and then add any further ingredients. Balms benefit from the inclusion of essential oils, but also a variety of oil-based botanicals.

add the essential oils after the mixture has cooled slightly

Step 3: Spoon or pour the mixture into your chosen container. A glass, aluminum of PET plastic pot is quite good for this.

Pour your mixture into your lip balm tubes

However, for a balm that you wish to dedicate to the lips may benefit from a wind-up, lip balm tube. These may for easy application, and you can find larger, thicker tubes (often used for solid/stick deodorants) for balms intended for more than just the lips.


Now for the enigma that is the serum. Many of you may have used one, but if you ask yourself ‘hey, what is a serum?’, you may find yourself struggling to answer. This is because serums, in the cosmetics industry, are very varied and each supplier and manufacturer seems to have a slightly different take on them. So let’s go over some of the basics to know

homemade anti aging serum

Firstly, are serums technically a DIY moisturizer?

Annoyingly, the answer is yes and no. While serums do contain many moisturizing agents, the point of a serum is to carry powerful, high-performance ingredients into the deepest levels of your skin to bring about a change in its appearance. Many serums will be packed with great anti-aging essential oils and active botanicals to help slow down the visible signs of aging.

But, are these serums water or oil-based? Again, no simple answer here. Some are oil and some aren’t. Traditionally serums were always water-based. Water molecules are smaller than those of oil, and so they pass through the many layers of skin more quickly (bringing with it those lovely ingredients we just talked about).

Modern trends

However, there is a trend nowadays to make oil-based serums, for added moisturizing benefits. Which is best for you depends on your skin, what other products you’re using and personal preference. I would encourage you to try both, just to see which works better for you. Although I must say, I much prefer oil-based, and generally, my recipes are always comprised of oils.

The point is, however, that these amazing skincare products are actually quite an important part of your skincare regime. Also, they become more and more important as we get older. But as I always say, start while your young, or the job becomes harder later on.

A great example of a super-strong serum is My Favourite Homemade Anti Aging Serum. It’s specially formulated to be an extra strength, anti-wrinkle product. It’s a pretty good recipe and may offer you some inspiration when designing your own at home.

How To Make Serums

The Formula

Recommended Batch Size: 10-15g

This is for an oil-based serum, water-based serum coming soon. Notice that the formula is identical to facial oil, that’s because there isn’t all that much difference between the two. However, due to the smaller batch size, it’s your chance to make use of much more expensive, luxurious ingredients.

This would be an ideal product to use the coveted Rose Essential Oil or Absolute. I also like to use something like Olive Squalene. I’ll even substitute some of the carrier oil of Olive Squalene, just because it’s that good.

Essentially, what separates a serum from a facial oil is its ingredients. While facial oil has a mixture of many great ingredients, you still might not want to use precious oils in larger batch sizes. For instance, I might use Argan oil in a serum, but not in a facial oil because I can’t afford to use so much of the oil.


It must be said that the method for this is almost identical to a facial oil, however, we will be working with much smaller measurements. A digital jewelry scale will be essential in achieving exact measurements in this case.

Step 1: Combine all of your ingredients in a sterile beaker, using a digital jewelry scale and making use of the T button after each ingredient is added.

making face serum using only natural oils

Step 2: Stir the mixture thoroughly with a sterile glass rod or stainless steel spoon.

Step 3: Transfer your serum to your chosen container. While you can use a simple dropper bottle, much like with the facial oil, it would benefit you greatly to use a dedicated serum bottle.

With a small batch size and high expense, every drop counts and a serum bottle should help make sure spillages are unlikely.

pouring face moisturizer in to bottle

How Do You Use A DIY Moisturizer?

Now, the all-important question is how on earth do you use these products? While it may seem obvious in some cases (such as emulsions and facial oils), in others it’s not quite so clear cut.

With face cream emulsions and facial oils, simply apply evenly across the face

You can use extra in areas which you know become dry quickly (for example, the cheekbones) and perhaps less in the T zone if you suffer from acne. Nevertheless, remember that a little can go a long way. There is no need to waste product by scooping or pouring too much, to begin with, only to have to use the rest of it on your hands or other areas of skin.

Facial emulsions and oils can be used twice a day. If you want to use both in conjunction, perhaps consider using the emulsion in the morning and the oil in the evening after make up has been removed. You can, alternatively, use your emulsion twice daily, and then use the facial oil every other day as a replacement for one application of your emulsion.

The latter is what I do, but you should experiment to find what suits you.

As for balms and serums, these are good for targeted areas

Balms, for instance, should be applied directly to dry, chapped or otherwise compromised the skin. Do not use too much or you’ll just clog your pores, and be sure to clean the skin properly before application.

Balm should be used as needed and not on a schedule. Although in the winter I often use balms on the lip as preventative, which is fine.

Serums should be applied directly to the areas the serum is designed to tackle

If your serum is for anti-aging, apply to the brow, sides of the eyes, around the mouth and any other areas wrinkling and facial lines like to appear.

What we’re doing with the serum is thinking properly about what it does, and in turn, doing our best to apply the serum where it is needed most. Do not try, as much as I know it can be tempting, to use a serum like a facial oil.

Although cheaper than store-bought alternatives, many of the ingredients that we can use for serums are highly sort after and sometime a little pricey. DIY or not, a serum is likely to be the most expensive product in your skincare regime, and we should treat it as so.

I recommend using a serum once daily. As I use oil-based serums, I prefer to apply them in the evening before bed. Serum first, followed by a facial oil or emulsion. The ingredients in your serum should penetrate deeply into the skin, and then the carrier oils in the emulsion or facial oil (which only penetrate the first few layers) will help seal in the serum.

Final Thoughts

So there we have it, some great options for you to nourish your skin for years to come. I know none of these are actual tutorials, and if that’s what you’re looking for take a look at some of my recipes linked to from each section. However, what I hope this page does is give you the knowledge and the power to take your skincare into your own hands.

While I think it’s great to follow tutorials, eventually there comes a time when you want to truly customize your skincare routine. This also allows you to be experimental, trying out weird and wonderful ingredients you may never have heard of before.


If there’s one thing I want you to take away, if nothing else, is that moisturizing is so important

If it weren’t, we wouldn’t have so many options to try. Moisturising is literally the thing that stands between you and dry, wrinkled skin. And it’s not just for older women, young people and men can absolutely benefit from a daily homemade moisturizer.

While I do think this guide is pretty extensive, there are definitely sections I wish to expand. I know it may seem like I’m in the know, but even I am learning every day. I would love to get more experience making water in oil emulsions, which are fabulous as foot and hand moisturizers. I also want to get into water/gel-based serums, because they differ so much more from facial oils and oil-based serums. So keep coming back to this post, I’ll be adding more homemade face moisturizers for sure!

Be kind to your skin and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!

Photo of author

Hi I'm Angela

I make most of the homemade things here. I'm an experienced soap maker, skincare formulator, author, busy Mom of 3, and recently a Grandma! Welcome to SavvyHomemade, it's my true passion.

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Discussion (9 Comments)

  1. Can’t wait to try these on my face and hair. I have been paying close to $700 per month on La Mer products that are doing nothing. Thank You for sharing. Wish me luck.

  2. You use water in your preparations and no preservatives. How is your bacteria and mold situation. The amount of vitamin E and essential oils don’t measure enough for preservatives. I would love to make a day lotion but all the research indicates mold and bacterial growth even if refrigerated.

    • Hi Madera
      You can but I’m not an authority on this. You would have to check your local government on the rules surrounding selling skin care products, and my guess is that you would have to send off samples to get them authorised.

  3. I can only find vitamin A and E in a higher dosage. Is that ok to use? Or is there something I can use instead?

    Thanks for sharing all of your hard work and experience. I can’t wait to try some of your recipes!


  4. It is really wonder full to get all this information,and after doing and using I will send my feed back

    Thanking you in advance

    Dr. Nadia shehata


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